©2013 Anne Erickson




The World According To...Duane Allman
(published on www.gibson.com, June 14, 2013)


At 24 years old, the world lost Duane Allman – guitarist and co-founder of the the Allman Brothers Band – far too soon, but his legacy and influence on the guitar lives on. In the following feature, we look through some past interviews with Allman, his friends and family to find out more about this rock ‘n’ roll guitar legend. Also, look for Gibson’s all-new Custom Duane Allman guitar to arrive this summer.

Duane on developing musical talent, as told to Guitar Player Magazine (via True Fire):

“Develop your talent, and leave the world with something. Records are really gifts from people. To think that an artist would love you enough to share his music with anyone is a beautiful thing. That’s fascinated me ever since I piled up my motorcycle. Miles Davis does the best job, to me, of portraying in the innermost, subtlest, softest feelings in the human psyche. He does it beautifully. He’s a fascinating talent, man, a marvelous, marvelous man and a great entertainer. And John Coltrane, probably one of the finest most accomplished players, took his music farther than anybody I believe I ever heard.”

Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman, on her father’s playing style, as told to KUNC.org and NPR’s Scott Simon:

“He’s unique, you know. He's a slide player who took it into a rock venue, which really hadn't happened before," she says. "He really had a special touch with that and I think people really respond to that sound. It's got sort of a vocal quality — it almost sounds like a horn. And I think it conveys emotion particularly well. ... It just kind of gets inside of you.”


Friend and guitar mentor Jim Shepley on Duane’s first vehicle, as told to Jas Obrecht and Guitar Player Magazine:

“A motorcycle. It was a Harley Davidson 165. We also rode motors together. That’s another thing we did together quite a bit. The three things we did was get high and be drunk, ride motorcycles, and play guitar. And probably play guitar about 50% of the time, and the other 25% to each one of the other things. Right after the Harley, he got himself a Triumph 500, and he’d race up the street, lifting up the front end at 90 miles an hour. Then after that they moved over to an Oldsmobile wagon, and he kind of got out of motorcycles for a while. They had the Oldsmobile wagon, which they carted all the equipment around in, and that’s what they drove to all these places. They went to St. Louis in it. They had that for quite some time. Then after that, I really don’t know what they got.”

Duane on rock music speaking to the times, as told to Guitar Player Magazine (via True Fire):

“. . . Yeah! It’s a like a newspaper for people that can’t read. Rock and roll will tell you right where everything’s at. It’s just something to move your feet, man, and move your heart and make you feel good inside–forget about all the bullshit that’s going on for awhile and fill up some of the dead space.”

Friend and guitar mentor Jim Shepley on what Duane wanted to do when he grew up, as told to Jas Obrecht and Guitar Player Magazine:

“Oh, he only wanted to be one thing – a rock and roll star. He wanted to be that from the first day that I was sitting there with him, showing him Jimmy Reed licks. The first thing he wanted to do was be a rock and roll star. That’s what he said: ‘Hell, I’m quittin’ school, I’m getting’ a job in music, and that’s the end of that.’ If I had that kind of dedication, I’d be president or whatever. I mean, that guy had a lot of nerve. He’d tell somebody off if they bugged him. He had nerves to do anything. He was a little guy with a lot of charisma. He’s was only about 5’7″, 5’8″, at the top, and he was real thin, extremely thin. But he didn’t appear thin and small when you saw him, because he had that charisma and that long red hair. The minute he came in a room, you knew he was there.”


Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman, on getting to know her father better, as told to Radio.com:

“I’ve learned more about him in the last four years than I ever knew before. I talked to his friends, I spent time with my family and this project really brought it home. I learned that he had a remarkable work ethic. He had a fire in his belly to keep getting better. He loved to be challenged by the people around him. That’s inspiring even if you’re not a musician.”

Gregg Allman on Duane’s favorite guitar players, as told to Jas Obrecht and Guitar Player Magazine:

“B.B. King – he loved B.B. King! Over the years he loved everybody from Chuck Berry to Kenny Burrell. I mean, you name it. He dug everybody. Back then, Johnny Guitar Watson – he liked him. He got into that real old blues stuff, loved Robert Johnson. He just loved any kind of guitar playing.”

Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman, on seeing Derek Trucks perform with Gregg Allman, as told to Radio.com:

“I don’t think anyone who sees Derek [playing] can’t help but to think of Duane. Derek was named after Derek & the Dominoes, he’s the inheritor of a huge legacy. In some ways, he’s Duane’s inheritor just as much as I am. That’s a heavy load to carry. But he’s his own person. I think it’s kind of incredible that he's dealt so well under that kind of pressure. He’s his own person. But you see him lean over and talk to Gregg onstage, you see them interacting on stage – it’s moving. They have a special relationship. If he can make Gregg feel like Duane’s there with him, then I think that’s beautiful.”

Duane on blues and jazz music being similar, as told to Guitar Player Magazine (via True Fire):

“Yeah, it really is, man. It’s just that as human feelings become more complex, as the world gets a little bit more divided and intelligent, complexity is the only difference between blues and jazz. It’s all the portrayal of the feelings and the soul in a medium other than words. You can either complain and say, “Oh man, I really feel bad,” or you can put you sadness into a musical context and make it desirable. Nobody wants to hear anybody bellyache, but everybody want to hear him play the blues. You can say the same thing, but make it to where it’s a little less offensive to your fellow man by playing it with music.”

Gregg Allman on whether he and Duane had instruments in their house when they were growing up, as told to Jas Obrecht and Guitar Player Magazine:

“No. No, we didn’t. When we started school, we both wanted to get into the band. We went to military school, and we both wanted to play trumpet, and we lost interest in it. My mother always called it her folly, because back then $200 for a trumpet, you know, that was quite a bit.”


Back to the top of this page